The minister disclosed this during a working visit to ascertain the progress of five projects under the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) in the Volta and Greater Accra Regions.
Alhaji Limuna said government was committed to promoting sustainable food production, and improve the fortunes of the smallholder farmers.
The tour, which forms part of the first leg of his two-day tour of the Accra Plains on September 2, is in pursuance of the minister’s approach to promoting interactive and open-door policy with all stakeholders in agriculture, especially the smallholder.
Alhaji Limuna visited farm belonging to VegPro Ghana Limited, which cultivate baby corn and vegetables for export to Europe, and Anyako Farms Limited, which has received $500,000 grant from GCAP, both in Togorme in the North Tongu District, and Sugarland Limited at Kortorko in the Dangme West District, which is into vegetable and fruit production.
He also interacted with the management of WAPCOS Limited, consultants engaged by GCAP to update feasibility studies and do designs for rehabilitating and modernising the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project.
The Minister said GCAP, had provided VegPro with S$479,000 from its Matching Grant Scheme, to develop 64 hectares of land; build the capacity of 75 out growers; carrying out an 11-km power extension to its new pumping station, and laying a 1.5-km buried transmission pipelines to the existing pumping house.
Part of the grant, he said was used to support the procurement of a centre pivot irrigation system for the company’s outgrowers.
Alhaji Limuna commended the Omankrado of Torgorme, Torgbe Gidi IV, for releasing land for large-scale farming, and appealed to other landowners and chiefs to release land for commercial farming so as to create more employment.
He advised out growers to take advantage of crop diversification options the nucleus farmer is providing with GCAP’s support, to cultivate other vegetables such as onions, so as to utilise the land and reservoir to the optimum all year round.
Alhaji Limuna said the government was committed to help the youth with tractor services under a farm service centre initiative which will start soon to boost production and create wealth.
The Managing Director of VegPro Limited, Jagdish Patel, said his company had been growing steadily and expanding, saying the packaging division, for instance, employed 150 people, majority of them women from the community.
GCAP, he said, had assisted in providing capacity-building programmes for the farmers, 214 of whom have been trained in the last two months.
The Executive Officer of Sugarland Limited, Mr. Asiwome Agbenyega, briefed the minister on the advantages of the technology, which include better pest control and a training opportunity for young graduates and interested farmers to learn the green-house technology.
GCAP, he said had provided funding for his outfit for the installation of the environ-domes, the training of out growers and the construction of a pack house for the farm.
By Times Reporter